The Fowler Family Business by Jonathan Meades
|Please note: drinking the |
run-off from tin mining
may make you infertile.
"Meades is a superb political commentator even on an historical scale. Nobody has written better about the mystical proclivities of the top Nazis, and a TV show of his that connected Himmler’s sinister mystical vision with King Arthur’s Camelot is still in my mind when I wake sweating in the night. To induce such discomfort is part of the Meades mission. Clearly it is a mental area in which he lives every day. The wonder is that it doesn’t scramble the powers of composition behind a prose style so pugnaciously cultivated, so unpredictably informative, and, enviably often, so extremely funny."Having never read his political commentary, seen his Nazi documentaries or heard him ramble through architecture rambling about architecture, I can proffer no counterpoint view. I did however read quite a few of the food and restaurant reviews he wrote in The Times (back when I thought A. A. Gill hilarious and The Times sports pages the best of the broadsheets' and before you required a subscription to read it all on-line) before he stopped, citing his subsequent insalubrious weight-gain as the main reason, and I can say without fear of contradiction that they were quite outstanding. I give you a recent example of his work:
"The self-regarding, hermetic world of gastronomy has produced few constructions more likely to promote teeth-gnashing, mockery and despairing contempt than “fine dining”, which should be pronounced in a refained accent – think Lynda Snell or Sir Elf Remsey or Morningsaide. It is a branch of restauration characterised by smarmily sycophantic service, grotesquely over-elaborate cooking, fussiness, pretension, absurdly high prices and moron chefs who appear to think they are philosophers: one of the smug oafs who presents MasterChef recently observed that if a contestant was to scale the heights of “fine dining” he had to remove the outer shell of each individual pea."